Every time I've been on the Storylines Tour, it's rained. Rain and Auckland and Auckland traffic do not for a good combination mix.
Still, I couldn't have been more pleased to be squashed in an eight-setter van with the dry-witted and tall John Parker, the ageless and generous Gavin Bishop, the erudite and talented James Norcliffe. I also had the privilege of meeting for the first time Melanie Drewery and Sarona Aiono-Iosefa ...... Two picture book writers/illustrators whose work I have admired because of the way they use our stories in such a manner that reflect the lives of so many Samoan/Maori/Pakeha children in New Zealand.
We were paired differently each time (but I didn’t get to hear Melanie *sad face* and I have presented with John before so I didn’t feel so bad.) I loved listening to the others, however, talk to the students about their lives and their work. I loved hearing the others read out their stories. And, I was fully impressed by the manner in which they treated the children: total respect and attention.
However, in the car, the tone sometimes became a bit less respectable. Rosemary Tisdall, the hard working member of Storylines commitee, was our driver and Belynda Smith, children's librarian at Takapuna Library, the navigator.
Despite the six of us being labelled authors, both Rosemary and Belynda contributed their fair share of tales which had us all erupting with raucous laughter.
The schools we visited were amazing and we were treated like royalty. Shout out to Cosgrove Primary, whose teachers and librarian were so enthusiastic and engaged and dedicated to their students; Rosehill Intermediate: attentive and focussed and who asked excellent questions and dear Pukekohe Hill School who had prepped their wee ones so well. What a delightful time we had with you in the last part of the day on a wet Friday.
I wish I had the details of the other schools visited by the other authors (and the Pretty Cool School which gave us a delicious morning tea). Everyone had such a wonderful time.
Getting back to central Auckland from Pukekohe in the rain was a bit of a trial made easier by the storytelling. I even reverted to a haiku or two.
Oh, and by the way, the advance copy of Bloodlines made its way into my hands tonight: OMG SQUEEEEEEEEE